CSW 58 in Review

By UUA International Resources

After two weeks of discussion, argument, song, dance, discernment, and community building, the 58th Commission on the Status of Women has drawn to a close. Hundreds of individuals from all over the world to foster dialogue regarding the role of women in the Post-Millennium-Development-Goals global landscape. The conclusions rang loud and clear: equality for women is progress for all. Going forward it is imperative that legal, institutional, and societal fail-safes be put in place so that every human being has access to education, economic possibility, safety, and personal agency. In order to give you a better idea of the ins and outs of the CSW experience, below we have included a few excerpts of reactions to specific panels that UU-UNO interns have had throughout this year's CSW. These excerpts mark the passion and drive of our fabulous interns, and also demonstrate the real progress being made in the field for Women's justice. ---- 

Event: Re-Sourcing Peace: The Challenge of Measuring Real Indicators of Change

Intern: Dylan Debelis, Ministerial Outreach

Our faiths invite us to reach out to others. The one thing that is not limited is our ability to work together. What are your resources? How do you use them? Identify what empowers you.

How has you upbringing shaped your personality? What has society/culture made of you and compare that to what you have made of yourself. What do you find? There are many kinds of power and each is legitimate in their own way. It is imperative to find your own kind of power. Peace can be assertive She and others had thought of her as a peaceful person, but she had to look inward to see what it meant to her and for her. Peace, she said, our understand of peace is key - it can be assertive!

Stick to your values, for saying yes to our authentic self gives us power!

Event: Feminine Socialization to Feminist Social Change

Intern: Julianne Guito, Spring Seminar

The first speaker concluded her remarks with a note on intersectionality. She stresses the importance of gender AND class as factors to take into account when working towards social change. The second speaker was a young woman from China who shared her research on how young women in college in China experience gender discrimination. One striking comment was that the “rise of the girls” is also seen as a “boy crisis”.

The speaker mentioned how females outnumber males in school, but gender roles and expectations are still strongly embedded in the culture. In fact, there have been ideas to “save the boys” and implement gender specific tracks where different lesson plans would be followed based on gender. Another shocking reveal was the admissions exams scores required for acceptance. In each case (she used various countries such as Germany, Russia, and France) the men had to achieve a lower score than women. A conclusion made was that the society is too demanding of women!

In her interviews women provided conflict remarks saying that they wanted to fulfill expectations to be financially independent, but they also expressed feelings of inferiority and felt devalued BECAUSE they were pursuing their educational goals. I was not able to stay for this whole panel, but this young woman’s study was very interesting to me as she highlighted societal pressures young women are facing and the importance of cultural influence.

Event: Women’s Role in Post-Disaster Reconstruction and Recovery

Intern: Caroline Achstatter, Climate Change

Including women in post-disaster reconstruction and recovery allows for:

I. Inclusiveness -

 II. Decision Making-

 III. Leveraging women’s networks

And sometimes it is just that simple.

Title of event attended: Equality for Women is Progress for All Intern: Yasmin Strautins, Spring Seminar

On Friday March 7, 2014, on the eve of Women’s International Day, UN-Women organized a conference titled “Equality For Women is Progress for all”. The panelists talked about the challenges women are facing in different parts of the world. They also mentioned there is a few progress made by the governments of these countries. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon invited men to work together on gender equality. The President of the General Assembly Mr. John W. Ashe said that men and women should have equal rights. On the other hand, the Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recognized the pay gap between men and women. She said” When women succeed the world succeed”. She also mentioned that we have to learn from the past and plan for the future. We must have less poverty.

I believe that equality is for now and that progress is for now. I also think there are a lot of issues that women are facing even in countries that economically advanced. For example until today women in South Arabia are not allowed to drive. In rural areas in many developing countries girls are not allowed to continue school after a certain grade. As the panelists mentioned, a lot of progress has been made but we need more work and to take more actions for a better future for all women around the world. We also need to talk about issues in countries that are members of states of the United Nations where women rights have been denied.


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